February 27, 2008

Introducing Matt Cutt's alternate identity, Garry Conn.

I could hardly believe it when I saw it, but it looks like Matt Cutts has an alternate identity. Say hello to Garry Conn, or - as some like to call him - Matt Cutts, that Google guy.

Don't believe me? Head over to "Garry"'s website and take a look for yourself: GarryConn.com. A striking resemblance.

Nice try Matt, but we're on to you.

February 25, 2008

The single best line of advice for webmasters and bloggers is...

Quit thinking about traffic and how popular your site is, and start focusing on the content your website is missing.

The traffic your website or blog receives is only as good as the content you provide. So quit worrying about traffic and such, and start worrying about the quality of content you are putting online.

February 15, 2008

"Attributes that make up remarkable blog posts."

Karen E. Klein of BusinessWeek was right on the money when she said: "There's no doubt about it, blogs are hot. With their interactivity and their ability to position even micro-business owners as niche experts, blogs are the "it" marketing trend (source: businessweek)."

But blogging is hard, especially trying to blog really great content. That is, of course, unless you know what makes up a perfect blog post.

Who am I kidding? Nobody knows what makes the perfect blog post, but - as an expert - I do have an idea of attributes that make up remarkable blog posts. And today I'm going to share some of those attributes with you.

These are only recommendations for your blog, but if you follow them in each post you make, you are guaranteed to become a bit more popular, and have your blog be viewed as a bit more professional. So what are you waiting for? Start blogging with these traits:

Don't refer to companies or organizations... write about specific people. It doesn't matter what it takes: find out who did what and talk about them. Instead of writing about Apple releasing the iPhone, write about Steve Jobs announcing it. People like to connect, but they can't connect with organizations.

Avoid negativity... and instead write positive remarks. Readers love to be informed, and if they can go away from your blog feeling like they learned something good and powerful, they will come back for more. But if your readers are reading your criticism of everything about anything, they will quickly be turned away by your negative aura. It's like my Mother use to say: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Speak your thoughts... nobody likes to read the same thing over and over again. That's why people love bloggers who have strong opinions and insights, which makes this point a "no brainer" for most. Don't be shy, your opinion matters to somebody; and if you share your opinion on enough interesting topics, your opinion will suddenly matter to a lot of people.

Don't blog when you are angry... even when you think you have something big to say. I know: this point contradicts with my previous point... but not really. You should post your opinions often, but anger is typically an irrational emotion and can lead to a lot of bad feelings on your blog. Instead: write down what you feel, then wait a day or two and see if you still feel that way; if you do: go ahead and blog about it. But, as I previously stated, try avoiding negativity at all costs.

Make your article easy to scan... because time is important for everybody. If your readers can come to your blog and quickly scan through your content to get a basic idea of what points you are trying to get across, they will be more likely to visit again and again and again. The easier your points are to get across: the more often people will read what you have to say.

Get to the point... and don't ramble on and on. Nobody cares THAT MUCH about what you have to say, but they do care a lot about news, research, and entertaining things.

Sure, nobody can make a "perfect" blog post, but we can all sure try; simply by trying to apply these attributes to each of your blog posts.

I'm heading out of town for the next few days, so there won't be any posts for a while, but when I get back I will be focusing on understanding a website's page rank (not just Google Page Rank, but REAL page rank).

February 11, 2008

"Page Rank will make you feel good, but higher conversions will make you rich."

When I first started working with the search engine optimization industry I was drawn to Google's page rank system. Google is - and most likely will continue to be - the largest search engine of our time, so when they say "we have created a system to rank webpages" you better pay attention.

If the leading search engine tells you that they have a way to monitor and rank your website, you would pay attention to what they have to say. And most web masters do. But some webmasters take the guidance from search engines like Google a bit too far.

Page Rank and linking = nasty taste in your mouth.

The problem with webmaster and search engine relationships arises when webmasters think that getting a high Page Rank from Google is essential to their website's success.

Surprise surprise, having a high Google Page Rank does not mean more traffic, more site conversions, and more popularity online. All a high Page Rank means is that Google thinks your website is fairly important.

And yeah, if Google thinks your website is important, that's great. And if you are building quality link partnerships with websites that Google thinks are important, that's great too.

But focusing on Google Page Rank will not - in any way, shape, or form - bring you more traffic. Focusing on getting a high Google Page Rank will not make you more sales, or higher click-through rates, or more subscribers. It won't.

So when webmasters focus on linking only with websites with high Page Rank, they are missing the point of Page Rank. In-fact: when webmasters focus on Page Rank at all, they are missing the point of Page Rank... which is authority and reputation.

I'm not that big of a deal, really.

If it's any consolation to those who believe Page Rank is almighty: ask your favorite bloggers how many subscribers they have, then look at the correlation to their blog's Page Rank. I am willing to bet that Page Rank has almost nothing to do with the amount of subscribers a blog gets. The content the blogger provides, as well as the networking they do on their own time, however, will greatly impact the number of subscribers that blog gets.

And what about online businesses? The Page Rank of a commerce site will NOT increase the amount of sales they receive. But selling a great product, on a great looking website, and focusing on gaining traffic (rather than high-quality links) will deliver more sales to that business. Guaranteed.

This blog, Internet Hunger, has a current Google Page Rank of 4 (higher than that of similar websites in the genre, and blogs that have been around much longer than Internet Hunger). And yet my traffic is less than that of other sites I run that have a Page Rank of 2 or less.

The rank doesn't matter, the marketing does.

Sure, linking with high Page Ranking websites is good for your relationship with Google, as a SEO I will never deny that fact. But there is bigger and better rewards to be sought by linking for traffic, and not for Page Rank.

So the next time you get an email request for a link on your website, look into the traffic rates and not so much the Page Rank.

Page Rank will make you feel good, but higher conversions will make you rich (and popular, and an authority, and powerful).

February 4, 2008

"Four fake, and one true, predictions about the future of the Internet."

What does the future of the Internet look like? Nobody can really say, but they can make predictions. And if you dig through enough predictions about the future of the Internet, you are bound to stumble across something that is right. Right?

Well, I have done just that. I have scoured the Internet in search of snippets about the future of the internet. So, take a look into the future by reading through these four fake, and one possibly true, predictions about the future of the Internet.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz: "I expect that new social communities will emerge and leverage the power of users to an even greater degree. One day, we might even see something like Naver in South Korea - where human answers and opinions precede algorithmic results (source: Internet Hunger)." In other words: the people - you and I - will be in more control, and search engines will no longer give us results based on calculations, but rather real answers from real people.

James Thomas, web developer for Oakley: "The future of the Internet is your desktop (source: CenterNetworks)." Not only can web-integration be found already in Apple desktops and iPod Touch and iPhone apps, it can also be found in Mozilla's Prism, and other upcoming technologies.

Vinton Cerf, vice-president and chief internet evangelist at Google: "Peer-to-peer services are not only here to stay, but they are undoubtably gonig to expand; it's not just for file transfer, it's for collaborative computing (source: Financial Times)." So we can expect to see an increase in peer-to-peer computing, not just for file sharing, but for a whole new world of networking.

Jonathan Zittrain, Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University: "Instead of personal computers being able to run any program from any source without approval from a third party--which many of us were used to in the 1980s and 1990s--Zittrain fears we're entering a world where centralized approval becomes necessary (source: News.com)." Which means that our systems - including all internet access - will be completely controlled by corporations or government agencies.

1,286 technology leaders, scholars, industry officials, and analysts: ". . .in the next 10 years the Internet will be more deeply integrated in our physical environments and high-speed connections will proliferate – with mixed results. . . .the dawning of the blog era will bring radical change to the news and publishing industry and they think the Internet will have the least impact on religious institutions (source: Pew)." In a way, these 1,286 "experts" predict that the Internet will dominate almost all areas of our lives within 10 years.

After reading through these quotes, I'm interested in hearing you thoughts on the future of the Internet. So, what do you think the future of the Internet has in store for us all? And which of these predictions do you agree most with?